No matter the sport, referees have one job: remain anonymous.
Because chances are if I know his/her name, that person did something wrong. VERY wrong.
Enter Exhibit A: the 2018 US Open women’s final.
The chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, cited Serena Williams three times during her final against Naomi Osaka. The first penalty, for getting coaching signals, earned her a warning. The second penalty, for breaking her racket, cost her a point. The third penalty, for berating Ramos and calling him a thief, cost her a game.
Look, I know that Serena’s behavior is unbecoming for a 23-time major champion. She’s a legend, and legends should know better, I get it.
But Ramos had no damn business inserting himself in a championship final. The first penalty, that was debatable. The second for breaking a her racquet in frustration WITH HERSELF (which led to the third penalty)??? REALLY?????
We see male players make abusive remarks to chair umpires and break their rackets too many times, yet those same umpires RARELY make a peep — let alone penalize them.
And if that was not enough to move you, peep THIS graphic on Ramos’ inconsistencies with MEN:
(But Serena was the one who overreacted, right?)
The sad part was it took away from Osaka’s coming out party. She idolized Serena, and beating her for her first major tournament title should have been the story, not Ramos’ role in the match.
But as sad as that was, it’s not as sad as the aftermath.
Scores of people have, and still are, calling Serena a crybaby and saying that she was not gracious enough (even though she showed OTHERWISE during the award ceremony). The great Martina Navratilova criticized Serena for her act. The crowd booed the award presentation, reducing the victorious Osaka to tears.
And, of course, it led to a racist cartoon in a foreign newspaper.
All and all, what should have been a nice, heartwarming story became a noteworthy one for the wrong reason, thanks to Ramos. Everyone lost, BIG TIME…